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How To Sleep On Modafinil | Follow These Steps!

Updated: Mar 2

Insomnia.


I don't like insomnia, let alone the fact that it has a name of a cartoon's villain.


What I do like, is a good night's sleep, when I fall asleep as fast as possible, entering the magical world of dream land, with minimal delay.


If you are not a masochist, you'll agree that deep, uninterrupted quality sleep is lots of fun, refreshing, and, healthy as well.


But what can you do, when two things you really love clash with each other?


As a new smartdrug user, you might make mistakes that'll force you into unexpected all-nighters.


If that has happened for you before, or you've heard anecdotes from people unable to fall asleep on modafinil, even when taken early in the morning, you've come to the right place.


Today we'll clarify what is modafinil? How does it work? How modafinil affects sleep? And how can you fall asleep while on modafinil?


Figure hugging brain with pills around
 

What is modafinil


Are you unacquainted with modafinil? No worries, the next section is an overview about the notorious smartdrug, and afterwards we'll discuss why it may give you insomnia and how can you fix that.

There are people who praise modafinil as a "limitless" pill (a reference to the fictional NZT-48 pill from the movie limitless), on the other side of the dialogue, there are skeptics - users who experienced absolutely nothing from taking modafinil.

That dissonance can be decreased, these anomalies can be explained scientifically, because of the complexity of the mechanism of action and the fact that different humans may have completely different genetic profiles - the effects of modafinil may differ between users.


However, modafinil is famous for a reason, most people find it very effective at improving their productivity thus help them pursue their desired outcomes in life, specifically in the professional plane.

While modern cosmetic pharmacology [1] (cognition enhancement for healthy people or patients with minor cognitive issues) contains a myriad of options that'll improve well-being and boost cognitive function, a few decades ago there were fewer options let alone awareness for the luxurious topic.

In 1974 a French pharmaceutical company called L. Lafon Ltd synthesized adrafinil. The precursor drug of modafinil, it took years before modafinil was discovered and arrived at french pharmacies in 1992 [2].

It was in 1998 that the FDA approved modafinil as a means to treat a sleep disease that forces one who has it to go into REM sleep sporadically and immediately, without a notice, this disease is called narcolepsy.


In 2003 Provigil (the patented version at the time) was granted FDA approval for shift work sleep disorder and sleep apnea, the eugeroic (promoting wakefulness) applications were profound.

The on-label purposes of modafinil haven't changed to this day, the FDA still labels modafinil as a drug that should treat only the 3 sleep related medical condition stated above, although in practice things are a little different.


Since the early 2000s modafinil became more and more popular as people began to notice it does a little more than just keep you awake, plus being a safer alternative to prescription stimulants, that's why the foods and drugs administration labels modafinil as schedule IV while Adderall is a schedule II drug [3].


"Adderall is also much more likely than modafinil to cause addiction and dependence and withdrawal symptoms on discontinuation, in addition to more side effects, without improving IQ."

Modafinil's pros


People's subjective experiences were that modafinil exerts various positive mental alterations that the medical literature confirms:


  • They received a lot of ambition and motivation to accomplish their goals [4].

  • Modafinil reduces users impulsivity [5].

  • May improve memory retention in healthy people [6].

For these reasons, modafinil became popular among competitive individuals who want to yield high outcomes and be mentally sharp, like entrepreneurs, students or doctors with long shifts.




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Modafinil cons


However, modafinil is not free of side effects, albeit minor ones, but you should be aware of them anyway, they include but not limited to:


We have a section on the site called modafinil safety, and it got all the information you need about different side effects and how you can mitigate them.

 

Modafinil and sleep - an overview


There's a trend in certain industries and communities to adopt the notion of "sleep less do more", which is not inherently wrong but can be absolutely counter-productive if you are being radical and don't establish the supporting pillars (metaphorically speaking of course, it is not comfortable to sleep on pillars, I swear) for awesome & effective sleep.


Adequate sleep is a centerpiece in your mental health and essential for cognitive performance, so if you reduce sleep in order to have higher and better professional outcomes, you may get the opposite from what you are expecting - they say we sleep around 1/3 of our lifetimes, there are reasons for that!


However, it is not set in stone that you must get long sleep, quite the contrary - you should take action for quality not quantity.


Sleep is a contentious and somewhat obscure topic, some resources swear by sleeping at least 8 1/2 hours a day, others provide with life hacks that could make your sleep much more effective and shortened.


How sleep works


As a general rule of thumb, you should get at least 7 hours of sleep [8] a day (do not exceed 9 hours, that will probably make you groggy, not refreshed), although some people are susceptible by their genetic profile to negative implications if they sleep less than 10 hours [9], although uncommon.


We humans naturally go through Monophasic sleep (one sleep session in a 24-hour period), each sleep session contains sleep cycles, each sleep cycle takes 90 minutes from start to finish, where's the final and most important state is the REM (rapid eye movement) stage, that's when you are dreaming, the body takes rid of brain waste such as Amyloid beta (which high amounts of are associated with Alzheimer's disease and dementia), you consolidate or discard memories and other processes occur... so you can be sure sleep has a big role in brain health [10].


Take advantage of your sleep cycles - if you wake up during REM you would be tired; Aim for 7 and a half or 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep, the latter option is superior, thus you'll complete a full sleep cycle which ends when the REM stage ends.


Cat sleeps

Modafinil's mechanisms of action (MOA) affect sleep


Modafinil can cause insomnia, a lot of the users encounter this major side effect, before we get into the why, first let's explore the what, what is insomnia exactly [11]


"Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep, The condition can be short-term (acute) or can last a long time (chronic). It may also come and go."
 

Why you can't sleep on modafinil

Pretty plain and simple, modafinil enhances and modulates several neurotransmitter systems in the brain.


Neurotransmitters are essentially chemical messengers that convey messages from one neuron to another, they are the currency of communication in the brain.


Some neuronal pathways modafinil augments are [12]:

  • Dopaminergic and norepinephrine systems - these catecholamine neurotransmitters are essential molecules in the central nervous system, when modafinil elevates levels of dopamine and norepinephrine you have more motivation, deeper and prolonged concentration levels and overall sharpness however, when these activated they act as endogenous brain tonics, you might find yourself too amped-up when you're supposed to shut an eye [13].


  • The Glutamatergic and gabaergic systems - glutamate is a prominent neuronal messenger that has a profound rule within the central nervous system, it is considered "excitatory" because it enables communication and makes neurons fire, basically the brain's "on" switch.

On the other hand, GABA is the opposite - an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces the chance of a neuron to fire, thus disabling neuronal dialogue.


Modafinil elevates levels of glutamate and reduces levels of GABA, on paper this effect might make you more creative, eloquent and sharp (which sometimes it does) but might induce anxiety and nervousness since GABA is also an anxiolytic - reducing stress and providing calm, and regulating sleep and make you more sleepy.


What's more, elevated levels of glutamate might induce anxiety since the neurons' firing frequency and quantity of "action potential" is increased, which can bring racing thoughts [14].


  • The orexinergic and histaminergic systems - Modafinil elevates two very important neurotransmitters in charge of regulating and promoting wakefulness

"Histamine and orexin/hypocretin are neurotransmitters that have unique roles in promoting wakefulness, and likely act synergistically to promote and maintain waking behavior." [15]

  • Modafinil's pharmacological repertoire is telling us everything about how it diminished the ability to fall asleep, but what if I take it early in the morning, you ask? Well, modafinil's half-life is 12-15 hours! That's the amount of time it takes for your body to get rid of half of the modafinil amount you've ingested, no wonder people can't sleep on it [16].



By now, these pharmacological mechanisms should've elucidated why one would find it hard to fall asleep on modafinil, which brings us to:

 

How can you sleep on modafinil


What are the strategies one could use to combat a modafinil induced insomnia?

First we'll follow the steps and tricks you can implement that have a direct link to modafinil, and then we'll spice things up with more broad tactics to follow:


Using modafinil correctly

  1. Using whole modafinil tablets? You might abuse the substance without knowing it - the common tablet comes as 200 mg however this dose is targeted for narcolepsy patients, modafinil is an extremely efficient drug for its original purpose - keeping the user awake.

It takes experimentation by you, we recommend trying to microdose modafinil, cut the tablet to a 1/8, i.e. 25 mg, if you start low you'll be able to gradually go up with little increments each time to find your sweet spot - a balance between the ability to go to sleep and the other cognitive enhancement attributes of modafinil, for more on that read our dosages guide.


By using that methodology, firstly you get more bang for your buck, and secondly, considering modafinil's half-life, after 15 hours when it's time to go to bed, you'll have less than 12.5 mg of modafinil in your bloodstream.


Trick: If you use l-theanine during the day and before bed, you'll enjoy mental soothing and cognitive boosting effects.

  • L-Theanine, is the Nootropic amino acid found in green tea, upon its many positive traits, it'll help your brain achieve alpha brainwave states - that's when your brain's cycles' frequencies is 8-12 Hz, this mental state is characterized with deep calm focus, and readiness for sleep [17, 18].

2. Ingest modafinil as soon as possible!

This one may seem very obvious, however, there are people who postpone ingesting modafinil to the late morning or even noon, if you wish to use modafinil for cognitive enhancement, do not procrastinate on that simple action.

Let's say you wake up at 7:30, take moda at 7:30, have the pill and a glass of water arranged next to your bed beforehand, so first thing in the morning you take moda, your body will thank you later


3. Withstain from other stimulants - modafinil is enough in and of itself, it is a powerful cognitive agent, and it should be treated as such. If you use modafinil with caffeine, you will probably get to stimulated, let alone the fact that that’s not a good move “cardiovascularly” wise.


Remember, your body is a delicate machine, you don’t fill a gasoline car with diesel (not the best analogy, hey don’t look at me like that!), and you don’t just mix stimulants arbitrarily, be logical.


4. Avoid CYP3A4 inhibitors - remember when we claimed that modafinil's half life is 12- 15 hours, it's not if you remove the enzyme who's job is to eliminate modafinil out of your blood stream: Introducing CYP3A4, the enzyme that makes sure drugs don't stay in your body forever, materials such as grapefruit juice, kale, black pepper and and more should be avoided on modafinil days! [19].


grapefruit
Grapefruit inhibits the CYP3A4 enzyme

5. Lower your supplementing frequency - We dive deep into the best modafinil usage protocols in our dosages guide, have a look!


6. Last but not least - DRINK. WATER. You have to let modafinil exit your body, it does so through the medium of urine - the elimination of moda is primarily done via urine! Minimun 2 litters/0.5 gallons of water are essential when on moda.



Best natural practices for a good bedtime


  • Avoid blue light! - Blue light has prominent applications for our biology, it’s regulating our circadian rhythm AKA the internal clock, you may not see it but the spectrum of colors the sun is projecting also has blue light, thus telling your body to get up. Artificial light sources such as smartphones and computer screens transmit blue light at evening times, confusing our internal clocks and causing a cascade of biological events that wakes us up in the evenings, instead of letting us relax.

To mitigate that negative phenomena, you can use the nighttime modes at your mobile devices and other screens you're exposed to, this way the screen is reducing the blue lights it’s emitting. Obviously, it comes at a certain cost - your screen would become orange since there's no blue light to balance the warm colors.


The other option is trying a blue light blocking glasses, which became a biohacking trend in the last few years.

Harnessing the power of blue light blockers towards better sleep and healthier eyes, is an important step towards riding insomnia in our digital age.

we recommend the affordable although quality glasses of Dr. S.


  • Try using binaural beats for sleep - they affect the brainwaves we’ve mentioned above via different paced beats from each side of your headphones. Different situations and stages of the day have different electrical brain waves, it is preferred that the more slowed frequencies would be present in the evening and before bed, enabling you to wind down and get drowsy. Look for “binaural beats for sleep” on YouTube half an hour before bed.


  • Try meditation - Mindfulness is a powerful tool for upgrading your sleep. Through the ability to grasp and watch thoughts from a “bird's view”, you gain the power of not letting the thoughts rule you, thus gaining a quiet, more resilient mind, one that potentially can relax itself (before sleep).


  • Have a rigorous sleeping schedule - your internal clock is sophisticated, if you go to sleep at sporadic hours, changing bedtime drastically each night, you are confusing your sleep cycle. When your body recognizes a pattern of going to sleep at a certain hour, it’s going to help you get settled down before that time, making it easier to fall asleep.


  • Have a warm shower - when you have a big dropdown in body temperature it’ll enhance melatonin production, that’s the sleep hormone that’s in charge of making you drowsy. A warm shower 1 hour before bed should do the trick [20].


  • Consider a modafinil alternative - there are a lot of natural nootropic stacks out there, after years in the nootropic niche, we’ve tried ourselves quite a few of stacks, one that prevailed among our writing crew is Mind Lab Pro - this formula provided a clean cognitive enhancement, despite the fact that modafinil provides more “omph” in certain facets, such as concentration and motivation, Mind Lab Pro is a more rounded option, created to target a wide range of cognitive aspects such as focus, memory, ambition, verbal fluency, grasping abilities, neuroprotection, and more…

This caffeine free nootropic stack won’t leave you amped up at night like modafinil.



Discover the best natural nootropic on the market:


 

Final verdict


That's it, folks, those were our tips and tricks for falling asleep while on modafinil.

Remember: It’s not a myth! You can go fast to sweet dream land whilst on modafinil, and the more rules we’ve shared with you today you follow - the better chances it’ll happen.


Do not underestimate this smart drug, it is profoundly powerful and effective at keeping people awake, it does not omit the need for sleep (sounds like a tired driving movie) your body have, it just postpones it, accumulating sleep deprivation will have major consequences! Your body must get rest.


We hope we’ve helped you to gain a better understanding of the situation, good luck!


 

Important note: this article may contain affiliate links, with that being said, our articles are always made with good intentions & faith.


Please contact us if you find any outdated information in one of our guides or articles; we put a lot of time and effort into researching, so the info is always scientific literature based from platforms such as NCBI.



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